The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Of Herod's Bloody Reign

For Innocents Day
See Hymns Of The Holy Innocents

Words and Music: English Traditional


Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833)

This is verses 7-13 of a longer carol, When Herod In Jerusalem

1. Of Herod's bloody reign with sad
    And grievous soul I speak,
By whom this day was slain, 'tis said,
    Ten thousand children weak.

O cruel Herod, hard of heart,
    Accursed mayst thou be,
That slewest so many innocents
    That never harmed thee.

2. Judah abounds with scarlet wounds
    Of sucking babes that died,
The earth was spread with crimson red,
    All caused by Herod's pride. Chorus

3. For unto him was told, that born
    There was a greater King,
Whose matchless power should him soon
    Unto subjection bring. Chorus

4. Wherefore he sent with full contempt
    His armed bands in rage
For to destroy each mother's joy
    Under two years of age. Chorus

5. The Son of God they straightway sought,
    That he might then be slain,
That his destruction might be wrought,
    As Herod did ordain. Chorus

6. But soon from Heaven was warning given
    That Mary should not stay,
But with her child at once exil'd
    To Egypt take her way. Chorus

7. Let us give praise to God therefore
    With modest mirth and glee,
And still this day adore, wherein
    Our Saviour was set free. Chorus

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